Imagine a train. You can’t go on the train yourself, but you packed up your baby projects with their little “unaccompanied dream” tags, kissed them on the head, and sent them on their way. And all you have to do next is wait. It’s a great train. It always gets where it’s going. Your little project will be just fine, until it’s time for you to call or send more luggage, or whatever. But it’s the train that will get them where they are going.
Then the train crashes.
And I, along with several others, are scrambling to get to our little projects, dust them off, kiss their scrapes, and figure out how on earth to get them to their original destination without the train!
Thankfully, (I think?) I’ve been in this situation before. Uncommon Universes is the second small press to close mid-production on one my books. Now I, with many others, are left with questions, chiefly, “What do I do now?”
I can tell you what I did last time. I cried, I spiraled, I made some bad decisions, and let some dark thoughts call the shots for a while.
This time is different.
This time, I didn’t panic, I walked calmly to the crash site, thanked the conductors who, after all, had done their absolute best, and I walked away with my little projects in hand.
Not because I’m jaded enough not to care or stoic enough not to show that I do. But I’ve been here before. And I learned some things from last time.
Psalm 77: 11-12
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
I have the privilege of remembering that life rises from ashes, because I’ve sat in plenty of ashes in the last two and a half years.
This isn’t a simple platitude or blind optimism. I can assure you I did my very best to believe in the absolute worst for the longest time possible. Until this happened last time, and I couldn’t anymore.
Because UUP wasn’t just a train carrying my upcoming Duology. They were also the helicopter that swooped down and picked up the wreckage of my first book and carried it safely to a better destination than it was headed to before.
From the most crushing disappointment I’ve ever experienced came an uncomfortable realization that I might be wrong about my entropic outlook. That things might really fall apart so they can be rebuilt better. That God might actually work all things for the good of those who love him. That it might be okay.
There is a lot to navigate as I take on things like self-publishing and positivity, but I’m glad to be here. I’m glad I know what I learned before.
Last time, a friend of mine mentioned one day learning how to sit in the wreckage, sipping a cup of tea, and saying “Ah, there you are God, right on time.” And I have a whole tea set I’ve collected, silver worked with pain, disappointment, and defiant, reckless, optimism. I’m waiting with eager anticipation to see what the heck he’s gonna do with this. Because I’ve seen him weave bigger blessings from smaller pieces than this.
I look up from my teacup,
knowing it will be hard,
knowing I will question,
knowing I’m not ready for this,
knowing it will, eventually, be beautiful.
And I wait. (Metaphorically—I’m working pretty hard right now actually.)
So, for the second time in three years, this isn’t the update I wanted to give. And I’m a little heartbroken—for the delightful and dedicated team who didn’t want to let this press go and had to anyway, for the authors who are feeling like their dreams might not survive, for myself, because I really don’t want to do any more hard things right now.
And I’m also excited, because SIGILS OF THE GIVER is going to be published, along with the sequel. I have a beautiful community cheering me on. I have a God who doesn’t waste things, not even pain. My prayers have changed. From, don’t let anything bad happen, or make the bad things stop happening, I’ve started saying,
“Redeem this so, even if I’m never going to be glad this happened, I at least maybe wouldn’t trade what I could have had for what I end up with.”
It's not easy. And sometimes I have to force myself to believe it, but I end up believing it.
Because I’ve seen it.
He’s still good.
We’re still okay.